The melodic hard rockers collectively known as Tokyo Motor Fist is undoubtedly a talented bunch. Boasting such skilled and renowned musicians as bassist Greg Smith (Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow), drummer Chuck Burgi (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Joe Lynn Turner, Blue Öyster Cult), vocalist Ted Poley (Danger Danger), and six-string wizard Steve Brown (Trixter), it should come as no surprise that these seasoned veterans have crafted a melodically rich and disciplined affair with a strong sense of focus to it.
Musically and stylistically speaking, what Tokyo Motor Fist do is not altogether that different from what countless other hard rock acts from the eighties were doing back then (and in some cases still do), but there is a modern sheen to this particular record thanks to the production and the songs possess a certain timeless quality while also packing plenty of punch. Other cool things include the fact that there is an impressive sense of confidence on display throughout and that several arrangements are superbly written. What about the negatives then? Well, there is not exactly an abundance of surprises or wicked twists to be found here and one could argue that the first half is slightly better and more memorable than the last one thanks to such stellar cuts as the stadium-sized ‘Monster in Me’, the highly energetic ‘Around Midnight‘, and the hauntingly beautiful title track. If you desire big riffs and even bigger choruses, look no further than those three pieces.
Lions is neither musically groundbreaking nor earth-shatteringly brilliant, but it is a damn fine and all-around well-written album that is as potent and catchy as it is vigorous and classy. When listening to its eleven memorable tunes, one gets the impression that these four gentlemen had a blast composing and recording the material and it comes across as a true labor of love and reeks of proper rock ‘n’ roll joy.